Staying Safe on Your ATV

Updated April 1, 2016 . AmFam Team

Keep the fun in your ATV adventures with these key safety tips. From riding gear to rider training, we cover it all.

The great outdoors is calling! What’s the fun in following the same old path everyone else takes? ATV riding was made for adventurous people like you.

But to make the most of that freedom, make sure you and everyone riding an ATV with you is up-to-speed on all-terrain vehicle safety and training. Learning how to ride safely into your next adventure starts with these important ATV safety tips.

Enroll in an ATV Safety Course

Among the many great training and safety classes available to you, the ATV Safety Institute offers a strong combination of theory and practical training with their hands-on ATV training courses. With videos that carefully deliver ATV basics followed by practical training, new riders will learn a wide array of skills and ATV golden rules. This ATV ridercourse occurs under a licensed instructor.

Gear Up With ATV Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Now that you’ve got the know-how, be sure to protect yourself with properly-fitted gear and PPE. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves. By expanding your wardrobe with the latest safety equipment, you’re investing in safe riding — and that alone can help you to ride more cautiously.

Stay Off Paved Roads

Your state’s Department of Transportation has specifics on what’s allowed. Take the time to check in with your county’s department of motor vehicles website. Review their regulations on how and when ATVs are permitted to ride on paved and public roads.

Abide by your local DOT’s rules for ATVs and everyone on the road will be safer. Although you may not be required by your state to carry ATV insurance, there are many good reasons to consider picking it up.

Follow Consumer Product Safety Commission ATV Safety Standards

The US CPSC is a great resource for reviewing ATV rider do’s and don’ts. Among the many important ATV facts explored, they emphasize the importance of keeping kids — younger than age 16 — off adult-type ATVs. Because children below 16 are not developmentally skilled yet to maneuver well, they’re at a much higher risk of having an accident.

Be Sure the ATV Is Designed for the Age of the Driver

Did you know that there are 5 different classes of ATVs? Those designed for kids ages 6 to 10 are often single gear and speed-limited. Be sure to always supervise riders younger than 16, and keep them only on designated trails at a safe speed.

Help Ensure Safety With a Pre-trip Inspection

Every time you’re preparing to head out on an ATV ride, be sure to go through your ATV inspection checklist and verify that that your rig’s ready to roll. With a protocol in place to help you confirm your ride is up to the task, you can help prevent off-road breakdowns.

Verify the Age Limits on the ATV

Most ATVs are required to post label on the unit that indicates the manufacturer’s recommended age for a particular model. It’s a good idea to be sure the rider can easily reach all controls on their ATV. If they cannot do so, put them on an ATV that suits their age and physical size.

Manage ATV Passengers Carefully

Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV and no more than one passenger on an ATV designed for two people. When no additional seats or footholds are present, riding with an extra passenger can inhibit the rider’s ability to safely control the ATV.

Don’t Drink and Ride

Stay sober, on this and every ride. Many states are writing new laws that make it a crime to be operating an ATV while intoxicated, much the same as any other motor vehicle. In many states, an ATV driver can be issued a DUI when operating off-road.

Get the Right Coverage for Your ATV

While you’re preparing for your next ATV outing, be sure to get in touch with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab). They’ll help you build an ATV coverage policy that’s custom-designed for your rig and your budget.

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